Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2010 February 25

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Computing desk
< February 24 << Jan | February | Mar >> February 26 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Computing Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

February 25[edit]

Disabling mobile facebook site on iPhone[edit]

Is there any way to permanently disable the mobile site on facebook the way you can here on wikipedia? I absolutely abhor it and am always pressing site complete / full site whatever at the bottom of the page and always it just reverts back after a page or two. Is there a way to hide the fact that you are using a phone? Please!! :) Saudade7 03:38, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

One solution would be to change the user agent of your mobile browser so that it identifies to Facebook as a normal browser like firefox or IE, then Facebook will serve the standard pages. I don't have an iPhone so I don't know how to change the user agent, but google search should have the information —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
thanks! I will try that! Saudade7 00:59, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Dell Inspiron keyboard from hell[edit]

I've got a company-issued Dell Inspiron which has the charming default setting of the function keys only being active when one holds the "Fn" key placed between Ctrl & Win, Alt in the lower left of the keyboard. To make things even more entertaining, the function keys are dual-purposed with things like brightness, battery, volume, and wireless. End result? When I instinctively hit F2 to rename a file - you know, because I'm computer unretarded and don't need to use a mouse to do that - I turn off my wireless card. HOORAY! Seeing as how this is exactly OPPOSITE all previous laptop keyboard convention that I've seen, would some kind soul please endeavor to identify a way to make my function keys ACT LIKE FUNCTION KEYS by default?

PS - F5 to refresh my webpage instead ups my brightness! YAY! unless I hold the Fn key, you know, because most people change their brightness MORE OFTEN than they use F5 to refresh webpages... or something... /me dies (talk) 07:34, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I had this on my Dell Inspiron. Press Windows Key + X. In the box labelled Function key row, select Function key from the drop-down list. That should do it.
It can also be done via the BIOS if the above doesn't work, but it did fine for me. Hope that helps! ╟─TreasuryTagprorogation─╢ 07:46, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, that doesn't seem to do anything (WK + X). I suppose I should add that I'm running a Simplified Chinese version of XP. Perhaps if you told me what sort of window WK + X opens on your laptop, I'd be able to find it another way? Otherwise I'll try the BIOS route next time I reboot... (and thank you for the prompt reply!) (talk) 07:51, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I couldn't take it anymore and went the BIOS route, which worked painlessly. Thank you for the tip, TT. The Dell clown(s) that thought it'd be a good idea to launch with that as the default setup should be demoted to workstations running TabWorks for the next 3 years as punishment. (talk) 08:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Glad you got it sorted. For reference Windows+X opened up the "Windows Mobility Centre" whatever that is, but if it works, it works! ╟─TreasuryTagconstablewick─╢ 12:17, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Why does Wikipedia keep thinking I'm "Doughnuthead"?[edit]

Question moved to WP:AN/I by User:Mo ainm —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:36, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Hard drive size discrepancy part 2[edit]

A few months ago, I asked this question, Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 December 19#Hard drive size discrepancy, and the general consensus seemed to be that it was down to my computer. However, I've looked at a few more computers, and it seems to be more than just me, take a look at [1], different computers, different users and different operating systems, yet they all have the same issue. Does anybody have the same thing? Why is this? Thanks-- (talk) 16:53, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

This has some information on the problem —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Your "selecting all files" method (right window in every screenshot on your flickr link) is actually flawed because it won't show all the files/directories. Although by default it won't show hidden/system files (which mentions in their link), there's also a few Windows directories that you don't actually have "permission" to view and there's no quick checkbox to enable this. One big one is the hidden system directory "C:\System Volume Information" (it's on other hard disk partitions too). This restriction is by design because poking around in there can seriously corrupt your Windows installation (and potentially the whole partition/lose all your files) and as such it's restricted to the SYSTEM user account only. These permissions can be changed/overriden, but I wouldn't recommend it. Because the "properties" window is unable to look into these directories it just skips over them hence more of a disk space discrepancy to what you expect. ZX81 talk 17:26, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
(EC) It's not clear to me that you accounted for the factors I mentioned on all those computers. System restore i.e. whats in the System Volume Information could easily be a big factor, the vast majority of people would leave it on and unless you grant access or delete the directory you're clearly not account for it. It would be the first area I would look at. Windows does not display hidden files & directories OR system files & directories by default and while advanced users may turn this off, most people won't so unless you turned it off you won't be seeing these. An advanced computer user may have made some directories inaccessible to the default user or even to all users so people are less likely to stumble across them by accident (these files may or may not be encrypted themselves), and as I mentioned if there are multiple users on the computer this would often mean that no one has access to all files and directories on the computer without taking control as an admin and granting access. It's also not clear you accounted for the recycle bin. I also wouldn't consider [2] particularly relevant. A ~2 GB difference isn't much and could easily be accounted for by file system data and various other things (which I admit I neglected to mention in my previous post). Nil Einne (talk) 17:26, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Depending on the kind of files you're storing, filesystem cluster size can consume a surprisingly large amount. On a typical (see later) filesystem, a 1 byte file will consume a whole cluster (which can be several blocks - 4Kbytes or more). This microsoft article has more, and includes the telling line "On the typical partition, this means that on average (cluster size)/2 * (number of files) worth of space is lost in this way." Depending on the filesystem, a single directory (even if it contains just one file, or even none) will also consume a cluster. Now some filesystems try to make more efficient provision for lots of small files (although almost always for reasons of performance rather than storage efficiency) - ReiserFS stores several small files together in a single cluster (ref); I'm sure other advanced filesystems do likewise (I think Veritas does). But note the central tenet of modern filesystem design - "time is money, disk is cheap"; the breakneck pace of storage economy (which sometimes exceeds Moore's Law) means that the next disk you buy will probably be three times faster than the last one - but not three times as fast - so they optimise for read and write efficiency at the expense of the most space-efficient model. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:05, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
You probably want to change the first "faster" to "bigger" (above). When you do this, please delete this suggestion. Dbfirs 22:37, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Which language was used for this?[edit]

Judging from the fact that I've now seen three different doctor's surgeries use this exact program to arrive their patients, I assume it's a pretty widespread thing, at least in the UK. Does anyone know how to find out what language it was written in? Vimescarrot (talk) 17:27, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

This PDF file is a sales brochure for the system. Like almost all software marketed to consumers, the company doesn't talk about what language the software was written in, mostly because consumers don't care. You could contact the e-mail address in the brochure and ask, if you remain curious. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:36, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Vimescarrot (talk) 22:37, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
The PDF file does mention that the computer runs Windows XP Professional. Naturally, if it were some sort of specialized operating system, the choice of programming language would be somewhat more limited. On XP Pro, it could be any of the popular languages. decltype (talk) 21:03, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

High-available internet service[edit]

Outside of the local telcos and cable companies, where else can I go for high available internet service? What do hospitals, big corporations, universities, and/or TV stations use? -- (talk) 18:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Larger users of internet buy one or several leased line using a variety of technologies, including optical SONET connections. Depending on circumstances, the actual line itself may still be supplied by (directly or under contract) the local telco, although the underlying internet connection may or may not be. There are any number of business telephony and connectivity suppliers (that cater to large users like you list, rather than consumers). While these connections are generally very reliable, a single line is always a single point of failure, so organisations that depend on continuous service will typically buy several concurrent leased connections (maybe from different suppliers); the enterprise-grade network swithing equipment they use is capable of handling load balancing and failover, to bind these together into a very reliable connection. Note that small(ish) users can do the same - SME-grade routers (e.g. some of those made by Draytek) allow failover to another port in the event of a failure of the primary WAN connection (e.g. failing to a second ADSL connection, or to a usb 3G cellular connection). -- Finlay McWalterTalk 18:49, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Python Code Issues[edit]

What is wrong with my code? I wrote it in Python 3.1.1. The purpose of the code is to write all the lyrics to "99 Bottles of Milk on the Wall"

b = 99
f = open('F:\Bawtlez.txt', 'r')
f.write( ' bottles of milk on the wall,\n')
f.write(' bottles of milk\n')
f.write('Take one down, pass it around,\n')
f.write(' bottles of milk on the wall.\n')
f.write(' \n')
while b != 1:
 b = b - 1
 num = b
 f.write(' bottles of milk on the wall,\n')
 f.write(' bottles of milk,\n')
 f.write(' Take one down, pass it around,\n')
 f.write('bottles of milk on the wall.\n')
 f.write(' \n')
f.write(' bottle of milk on the wall,\n')
f.write(' bottle of milk,\n')
f.write('Take it down, pass it around,\n')
f.write(' bottle of milk on the wall.\n')
f.write(' \n')
f.write('No more bottles of milk! :(')

When ever I run it, I get this error:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Users\Mitch\Documents\", line 4, in <module>
NameError: name 'num' is not defined

Help please. MMS2013 19:09, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Well, line 4 of your code is "f.write(str(num))", but you have not defined num to be anything. You want to use b there, as that's the name of your loop variable. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
(repeat answer - not paying proper attention) Change the first line from b to num - notice you never used b despite it being the "99 bottles on the wall", but you used num instead. (Also what are these lyrics - I'm familiar with "9 green bottles" or "1 man went to mow" but not "99 milk bottles"!!) (talk) 19:15, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I made the adjustment and got this error:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:\Users\Mitch\Documents\", line 5, in <module>
IOError: not writable

BTW, the desired output would be something like:

99 bottles of milk on the wall,
99 bottles of milk,
Take one down, pass it around
99 bottles of milk on the wall.

98 bottles of milk on the wall
98 bottles of milk,


No more bottles of milk! :(

MMS2013 19:24, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

See section 7.2
f = open('F:\Bawtlez.txt', 'r')
should be
f = open('F:\Bawtlez.txt', 'w')


f = open('F:\Bawtlez.txt', 'r+')
using just 'r' means that the file can only be read from, and not written too.
Also you definately don't need two variables - you could just use 'num' all the way through. (talk) 19:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
XD My code failed because I missed one letter. Thanks! MMS2013 19:33, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
If you are only ever writing to the file, why do you need at all? And isn't it supposed to be bottles of beer? Astronaut (talk) 03:20, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Files might be missing- ExFAT Flash Drive[edit]

So I got myself a couple of Kingston DataTraveler 150s, with 64GB of space. Until I looked up ExFAT, I didn't understand why my netbook couldn't read it and my W7 desktop had no problem. So I installed the update from Microsoft, and emptied about 40GB onto the drive in preparation for a clean install of XP. I plugged it back in later (on the same netbook before the install), and it's only reading empty folders! Properties reveals that the drive has the info on it, but I can't get to it with Windows. Any ideas? Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 20:32, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

To clarify, the data on the drive was from the netbook, not the desktop. Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 20:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Before you pull a flash drive out of its USB port, Microsoft wants you to use the "Safely remove hardware" icon that appears to the right of the taskbar. This makes sure that the computer has completely finished writing everything to the drive, and so you don't yank it in the middle of, say, writing sectors that are critical to its directory. Did you use the "safely remove hardware" icon? (By the way, I would be surprised if this were the reason for the problem; I am under a vague impression that Windows Vista and Windows 7 are better about handling this bad user behavior than XP and previous. But I could be wrong.) Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:11, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I usually do that, but I'm not sure if I did in this instance. Note that 2 files stayed on, and other files that were already on have dissapeared. The netbook is running XP, by the way. Still, the data is obviously on the drive, is there any (easy) way to get it back? Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 22:45, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry to not be specifically helpful to you with this comment or my last one, but it is not "obviously" on the drive — in one bad scenario, Windows could have marked ~40GB on your flash drive as occupied and copied over all the data, but the flash drive was pulled out while a write cache holding the directory sectors was being flushed, so the directory currently on the flash drive is missing or corrupted. Have you tried the "Tools" tab on that Properties window to check the volume for errors? Comet Tuttle (talk) 22:51, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Nothing. I'm going to try playing with it on my W7 computer. Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 23:08, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, at least I know what I did wrong. I succeeded in determining that the files got corrupted. So you were of help. Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 05:05, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry this disaster happened to you. Comet Tuttle (talk) 14:49, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
There is freeware which says it can recover deleted etc material from flash drives, perhaps they would help. At least you will know if there is anything truely on there. (talk) 13:50, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with 78 — you shouldn't give up just yet if that is your only copy of your data. Products like Norton Utilities or a competitor may be able to scan the sectors of the flash drive and discern what sectors comprise files, and recover your files. The Norton Utilities article has a "Competitors" section, too, and we have a list at Category:Utility software which may be useful. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:27, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, that was one of the first things I did, shortly after Comet Tuttle suggested that it might be corrupted. Nothing came up. Thanks anyway :) Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 20:21, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

How does my browser remember what links I've clicked?[edit]

Even after restarting my computer and having purged it with Ccleaner, both Firefox and Windows show links that I had previously clicked even days ago in a different colour. How do they do that? Would they remember a link I'd clicked six months ago for example? Is it possible to view the list of clicked links they must be keeping somewhere? Thanks. (talk) 21:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

I am not familiar with Ccleaner, and you should not need to use a third party utility like that to wipe your browsing history in any browser made in the last 7 years. In Firefox (3.5.8, anyway), choose "Clear recent history" from the "Tools" menu. The browser's differently-colored links come from the history. Comet Tuttle (talk) 22:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Ccleaner is only able to clear browser history when the browser is not running. Make sure you've completely exited Firefox and IE before running it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article on CCleaner. It's basically a tool for cleaning errors in your Windows Registry. More info here.[3][4][5] A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 00:03, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

The question is not about Ccleaner, which I only mentioned in passing. (talk) 01:08, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

As Comet Tuttle said, this information is kept in the browser's history file. If Ccleaner does not change the link behavior, you are either using it wrong, or it is not deleting the history correctly. There are other ways to purge the history file—use one and it should change this. --Mr.98 (talk) 04:58, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

So does the browser scan through my History everytime I look at a new page? (talk) 13:52, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes. It's a trivial operation for it to compare the links on your page to a list of links in your history. It's not look at the content, just the URLs. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:24, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but I think it has nothing to do with clearing browsing history. Try to change colors. FireFox:Tools→Options→Contents→Colors and change it. Oda Mari (talk) 14:18, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
You are mistaken, sorry. Whether a link is colored as "visited" depends on the browser history. You can change the colors of how it tags things as being "visited" or not, but that doesn't change that it does it. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:24, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Safe to delete Microsoft Office?[edit]

I have WinXP. This is an old second-hand computer and Microsoft Office was rather mangled when I got it. After spending/wasting a lot of time on it I managed to partially repair it, but it still has problems. Yes, I do use OpenOffice. Would it be safe to delete Microsoft Office without any problems? Thanks (talk) 21:51, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes; an uninstallation won't screw up Windows or anything. Be sure to remove it by means of the "Add/Remove Programs" Control Panel in order to make sure you get rid of everything (rather than just deleting the appropriate folder within "Program Files"). Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I had an old computer like that, and even when uninstalled it left enough to double the start up time. It may better to format the disk and start with an XP reinstall. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 20:34, 26 February 2010 (UTC)